Small Worlds (an update from Mendoza, part 2)

This post was originally published in Facebook Notes on March 20, 2009.  I have reposted it here because I like it.

On to Los Arenales.  A bus, a taxi, a salt and pepper bearded man named Yaqua, a van, and a young climber from Buenos Aires all conspire to guide us the Refugio del Cajon.  We find the refugio, a concrete, wood, and metal two story structure nestled among boulders that rival it in size, if not supersede it.  All around are tall cliffs, talus, spires; a gorgeous mountain valley shrouded in low clouds as the sun sets in the northwestern sky.   We are doubtful about climbing in the AM.  0600 dawns crystal clear though and we leave the

refugio at 0715 by the light of the barely breaking dawn. Over the next twelve hours Josh and I make our way up (and down) the 500 meters of one of the canyon´s five star routes. We stumble back in around 2000 hours and I cook up dinner. As I make my way through the rough hewn furniture of the now crowded refugio (it is now Saturday) in order to brush and floss, I hear perfect english that catches my attention.

“Are you Jared?” a women sitting right by the door I am exiting asks me.

“Yes?” I say with uncertainty though I do know that that is my name.

“I am Anno Davis.”

“Anno, really?” I say disbelievingly as I wind dental floss around my fingers turning them purple in the candlelight. She stands and we embrace. “Wow this is pretty random. What are you doing down here?” I ask this woman that I had known as a 16 year old teenager some eight or nine years before.

We talk for 15 or 20 minutes and I head off to bed.

In the AM Josh and I are tired and dilly dally with a lack of climbing motivation. We talk with Anno who has been living in Mendoza for several years after studying here in college and falling in love. She and her partner recommend some routes. We talk about pasts and futures, family and friends. And we share mate.

As that small, simple, wooden mate is passed, I think how someone eight or nine years removed and half a world away, recognized me.

Eventually the climbing bug bites all of us. We trade emails and say goodbye. Josh and I head off to sample some of the area´s face climbing on a four pitch route. We climb with Nicolai, an Argentine who later slips us a Ben Franklin as we part ways, him heading uphill with some of our climbing gear and ropes and us heading down hill to Mendoza.  A hitched ride, a flagged down bus, and a short walk later we are at the hostel.  Showers, the thunder kind and the cleaning kind typify the evening as we eat pìzza and sip a malbec.

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A bit of a nomad, Jared likes to refer to himself in the third person.

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